Illegal trawlers: Muar fishermen asked to provide evidence of being threatened after giving info

A fisherman drives his boat off the southern coast of Johor, Malaysia, as ships travel between the Singapore Strait and the Strait of Malacca November 12, 2016. — Reuters pic
A fisherman drives his boat off the southern coast of Johor, Malaysia, as ships travel between the Singapore Strait and the Strait of Malacca November 12, 2016. — Reuters pic

MUAR, May 19 — Fishermen in Muar were asked to provide information and evidence to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on allegations that they were threatened and deliberately detained by Marine authorities after submitting evidence on the encroachment by illegal trawler boats.

Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the matter was viewed seriously and would be brought to justice as the encroachment continued even after complaints have been made.

“I have informed the fishermen to take the names of the officers involved besides bringing the matter to the MACC as well as other relevant authorities.

“This is a cowardly act and this (encroachment) has long existed, evidence such as the registration numbers have been given and they can detect through the Automated Detection System (AIS) if they want to carry out enforcement,” he told reporters after a dialogue between the fishermen and government agencies in Parit Kasim, here, today.

Syed Saddiq, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, said these encroachments besides boat thefts which have been plaguing fishermen in the area for a long time will be resolved by a more firm and comprehensive enforcement action.

He said he would take up the issue with the Home Ministry as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry and the Defence Ministry.

He said a proposal would be made that the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry uses the AIS system for all class B trawlers to facilitate monitoring as long as they are in national territorial waters.

Earlier, on May 4, he made a surprise visit to Parit Jawa here to enquire about the problems and issues faced by fishermen in the area.

He was informed that illegal trawler boats have encroached up to Tanjung Tohor and had also destroyed the fish conservation and breeding areas as well as nets and cages of local fishermen.

These encroachments reach up to Bagan district between three and five nautical miles from the shore and occur between 6am and 6pm and has affected the livelihood of more than 1,000 fishermen. — Bernama

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